But, while the whale sharks are the main attraction and what Oslob is best known for, recent criticism and concern over the lack of ethical practices used in the whale shark tourism here is turning some visitors away.
However, for those who choose not to partake in the whale shark watching, there is plenty more to see and do in and around Oslob.
So if you have a day or two in this part of the Philippines, and are looking for something to see or places to explore, then here’s a list of things to do in Oslob.
1. Whale sharks
Swimming with whale sharks is the main highlight of Oslob. Every year tens of thousands of people some for this experience. However, the practices used by the locals and tour companies to enable tourists to see the whale sharks really are not very ethical and there is plenty of concern about the welfare of these animals and how the tourism practices are affecting the species.
For this reason, we recommend that you skip the whale sharks in Oslob and go see them in Donsol instead. Of you do choose to see them in Oslob, know that the experience will be quite crowded and will feel like a visit to the zoo.
2. Tumalog Falls
Cebu is known for its beautiful waterfalls, one of which is Tumalog Falls. Tumalog Falls isn’t too far from Oslob, but the road to the falls can only be taken foot or motorbike (it is too narrow for a car or van). Once you arrive there is a gazebo type building where you can change into your swim gear.
It is important to note that the falls depend on the weather. If it’s dry, there won’t be much water and they will be unsafe for swimming so it’s best to check with locals ahead of time.
3. Church of the Immaculate Conception
Located in Oslob’s Heritage Park, the Church of the Immaculate Conception is kind of the centerpiece of the area. It dates back to the early 1800s though additions such as the bell tower weren’t added on until the mid 1800s.
4. The Cuartel
The Cuartel is an impressive, though unfinished, building from the mid 1800s. It was supposed to be a barracks for the Spanish soldiers but wasn’t yet complete by the end of the Spanish Occupation so was never actually used. The Cuartel is also part of the Oslob Heritage Park.
5. Baluarte Ruins
Another worthwhile site in the Oslob Heritage Park is the Baluarte Ruins. Baluarte means watchtower and this watchtower was built in the late 1700s so guards could watch against potential invasions.
6. Oslob Museum
At the back of the Cuartel you can find the Oslob city museum tucked away. It’s quite small and has no air conditioning, but it’s an interesting place to spend a bit of time and look around.
7. Day Trip to Sumilon Island
Sumilon island is a 24-hectare island off the coast of Cebu and a great place to spend a day (or even a night) and escape the city. The island is a marine protected area and known for its stunning dive sites. There is also a natural lagoon surrounded by mangroves and caves, and an interesting sandbar that changes moves around the island depending on the time of year.
Also read: Top 100 Best Beaches in Philippines
8. Mainit Spring
These waters are rich in sulphur and is said to be very restorative and goof for both your health and your skin. Mainit Spring is located in Barangay Mainit.
10. Binalayan Hidden Waterfall
Another great waterfall near Oslob is the Binalayan Hidden Waterfall. Despite the word ‘hidden’ in the name, it’s no secret so there is often a crowd. However, this waterfall is stunning and cascades down four levels with plenty of refreshing pools along the way. You can even do some cliff jumping here if you are feeling adventurous.
Trying out a variety of watersports is easy in Cebu. Scuba diving is big here, especially the sites around Sumilon island. However, you can also try kayaking and even windsurfing.
12. Take a Day Trip
Oslob is close enough to a couple other places on Cebu Island that you can use it as a base to explore more- a great option for those who don’t want to move around too much. A great pick is Moalbal which also has some stunning waterfalls and scuba diving and is only 1.5 hours away.
How to get to Oslob
The closest airport to Oslob is Mactan Airport near Cebu City. From the airport head to the South Bus Terminal where you can catch a bus to Oslob. The bus ride will take approximately three hours total. If you are travelling with a group, it is also possible to hire a car to take you. If you are lucky, you may be able to find someone on grabcar or uber who is willing to do that route.
Oslob may be famous (or, in some regards, infamous) for its whale shark experience, however there are other cool things to see and do in this city, especially if you are a history enthusiast or love watersports. If you are looking for somewhere to spend a day or two on Cebu Island, then Oslob just might be a great pick for you.